Antigone: Behind the Script


Mr. Schmerler

Poster for the school play, “Antigone,” November 2019.

By Frini Dominici, Features Editor

No longer will the spotlight shine on the leads, but instead, the playwright in the dark. 

Passaic Preparatory Academy’s play this year  was an adaptation of “Antigone,” a Greek tragedy by a professional writer.  The playwright whose identity lies behind the drawn curtain is Ezra Brain

Ezra Brain is a professional playwright who has written and adapted a total of 14 plays, including Antigone. He’s directed in many theaters such as Bears Ensemble Theatre, Left Field Theatre, the University of North Carolina and many more, so he’s no stranger when it comes to working in his home state of North Carolina. 

The play “Antigone” is a classic Greek tragedy quite different from the cliché of two lovers but instead tackles an argument for the ages, whether we should abide by the law regardless of how severe the crime and punishment is, and what is “morally right.” Over a week span, we see both sides of the argument only to see there is no enviable answer.

The Boulevard was able to interview Mr. Brain and ask a few questions regarding his process of adapting the play for the Prep auditorium. 

The Boulevard: Why did you write the adaptation for Passaic Preparatory Academy? 

Mr. Brain: “David—Mr. Anderson was struggling to find a version of Antigone that would appeal to students.” 

TB: Was this one of the hardest adaptations?

Mr. Brain: “No, because it is a Greek tragedy, the plot is straightforward.” 

TB: How long did it take to produce the final product? How long had you been doing script writing?

Mr. Brain: “It took me four months,” Ezra said “I’ve been working professionally for 4 years, and 6 or 7 years non-professional.”

I also asked two cast members about their opinion of a professional playwright having written this script for them. 

The adaptation, having been written by a professional, how do you feel about it? What did you think of the fact that Ezra Brain came to Passaic?

“The adaptation of Ezra Brain gives the story a new perspective and it gives the characters more dimensions,” said Pablo Palafox. “The fact that Mr. Brain came to talk to us about Antigone shows his dedication to his craft.”

“I feel that this adaptation is interesting because it’s written by a professional everyone writes differently and because Ezra has experience writing plays before this it’ll be excited to see and experience how he thinks,” Prep senior David Rojas said “Like Anderson said that fact that the playwright came here to answer questions and talk to us about how he envisioned Antigone is important and we learned a little bit about Ezra. some of us have seen him before and for others it was their first time but overall we learned how a play is crafted or adapted and the fact that he got to put his two cents in during a scene with the chorus was great and helpful.”